‘Building Community Partnerships in Tuluksak’ by Lesa Meath, Matthew Brown and Principal Douglas Bushey

Tuluksak students welcome community members to an open house event.

The Tuluksak School is located in the Yupiit School District in southwestern Alaska, a region where many families are from a Yup’ik cultural background and speak the Yup’ik language. The school district is comprised of three schools in the communities of Akiachak, Akiak, and Tuluksak.

Tuluksak is located in southwestern Alaska along the Kuskokwim River.

Kicking the year off with a personal welcome, the Tuluksak School staff divided into small groups to do a “walk about.” New staff were paired with veterans and paraprofessionals on a mission to visit each and every household in the community, and present invitations to the “Back to School Night.” Principal Doug Bushey led a successful event for a ‘meet & greet’ of new and returning teachers over a dinner of hot dogs and chips.

Personal Trainer anyone? Students, staff and residents of Tuluksak have the opportunity to work out in the morning at the Henry Lott Memorial School gym. Math teacher Armando Quintana opens the doors early and all are invited to come in and get physically fit under the guidance of Mr. Q.

A popular addition this year has been the laundry room at Henry Lott Memorial School. A need identified by previous administrator Craft and the school team was that due to the lack of running water in the village, many students did not have ready access to the washeteria. As part of the Tuluksak mission to prevent bullying and focus on social-emotional relationships, a grant was submitted which in part provided funds to purchase a new washer and dryer. There is now an organized way to sign up for an after-school slot to do laundry. Students are learning to operate the machines and plans are to build on these life skills by reaching out to Elders who may be in need of laundry services. Community members have greatly appreciated this opportunity and Principal Bushey reports that the service is another way that the school is building partnerships in the Yupiit District.

Other community engagement efforts during the first months of school included the Halloween Carnival, book giveaways, a Bingo Night, Spaghetti Feed featuring the Tuluksak Dancers, and a Literacy and Game Night. The staff plans, cooks and serves students and families for these engaging community events to practice the Yup’ik values of Showing Respect to and Taking Care of Others.